A tribute to Paylar from his phenonmenal foster mom, Shannon:
When I picked them up I asked their surrendering owner about each of them. I was told that they had been outside dogs, living in a dog run for their entire lives. Neither dog was house-trained, leash-trained, obedience-trained, or neutered. I asked about their health and was told that Maximus had a thyroid problem but hadn’t been getting meds for years, and that “Paylar has a cough that sometimes makes him throw up.” The first day that Paylar was in my home, he regurgitated 42 times. Not an auspicious beginning.
On that first day, it was evident that the boys were uncertain about having a roof over their heads; they paced for hours, repeatedly looking up at the ceiling. It would have been funny if it hadn’t been so sad. Since neither dog was house-trained, and I lacked crates large enough for them, we started off by limiting them to the dining room and backyard, using tipped-over tables to block further access. But eventually (and I do mean e‑v‑e‑n‑t‑u‑a‑l‑l‑y!), they were living proof that you can, indeed, teach old dogs new tricks.
It was apparent within the first week, actually within the first day, that there was something more significantly wrong with Paylar than ‘an occasional cough.’ A few conferences with the vet and a few x-rays later, he was diagnosed with megaesophagus. After a long series of trials, and much error, we found a formula of meds, food type, and elevated feeders that reduced the frequency of his regurgitations, but we were never able to stop them completely. He had good days and bad days, and we were very happy when the good days outnumbered the bad days.
Paylar and Maximus attended Basic Obedience class at the ZoomRoom in Longmont, CO (a loud shout-out to Marnie, the proprietress, who let them both attend for free because they were foster dogs!). Both boys passed the class, but Paylar didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as his brother did (Paylar was never really food- or treat-motivated, probably as a result of his tendency to regurgitate), so we didn’t enroll him in any other classes. However, both boys did go on to get their Canine Good Citizen certifications (back then we were still hoping it would make them more attractive to prospective forever homes).
Of the countless foster dogs that I’ve had in my home, I can honestly say that I’ve never had sweeter dogs than Paylar and Maximus.Paylar, in spite of his various health issues, seemed to enjoy life. He was happy to spend hour after hour surveying his domain in the back yard, but when the leashes were brought out he would dance like an excited puppy and wait anxiously by the front door for the chance to explore the world outside. He was a fantastic ambassador for the Great Pyrenees breed, and giant dogs in general. For example, a few houses down from me lives a family with 5 children, all of whom were afraid of dogs. When we first started walking by their home, the kids would run away when they saw us coming. Over the next year, the kids s-l-o-w-l-y got closer (or, more accurately, ran less far away), and eventually they even braved touching the dogs. Paylar, with his beautiful thick ruff and long soft coat, seemed irresistible to them. Everyone wanted to touch him and he was truly happy to let them do just that.